SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Feb. 7, 2012) – The Mount Holyoke College basketball team has partnered with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer through the Play 4Kay initiative. Play 4Kay is a global, unified effort for the WBCA nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
"This is a great opportunity for us to recognize all the breast cancer survivors as well as those we've lost from breast cancer. I think we've all been affected in some way by this disease, and raising awareness and donating our admission charges to the Kay Yow Cancer fund is the least we can do," said Mount Holyoke head coach Michelle Scecina.
Play 4Kay, formerly known as WBCA Pink Zone, is an initiative that allows a nation of coaches to raise awareness and funds for cancer research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The late Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women's basketball coach, served as the catalyst for the initiative after her third recurrence of breast cancer in 2006. Since 2006, over $1.5 million has been raised for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Members of the Mount Holyoke team will be sporting pink shooting shirts and shoelaces at Saturday's home game against the Coast Guard Academy. Proceeds from admissions fees to the contest will be donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. In addition, fans are encouraged to wear pink and contribute to research initiatives.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death for all women and the leading overall cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 20 and 59. In the United States today, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes. Incidence in women has increased from one in 20 in 1960 to one in eight today.
The good news is that mortality rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.
"Mount Holyoke College is pleased to join the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the larger women's basketball community across the nation to raise awareness about breast cancer. It is our hope by joining this effort we can increase awareness among the women of our community and contribute to continued cancer research and education," said Mount Holyoke Athletic Director Laurie Priest.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against cancer through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. It was established under The V Foundation in December 2007 and honors Yow, who served as head coach of the North Carolina State University women's basketball team coach alongside then men's coach Jim Valvano before he succumbed to cancer in 1993.
Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on January 24, 2009 after facing her third bout with the disease. In her 38 years as a head coach at the college level, she was one of only six Division I head women's basketball mentors to achieve 700 career victories. Yow was also the head coach of the 1988 US Olympic Team that won the gold medal in Seoul. She was a past president and founding member of the WBCA and was a galvanizing voice for the Association.
For more information, please visit Play 4Kay on the web at www.play4kay.org.
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